K-12 Online Schooling-Focus on the Students!

The main focus of current research for K-12 online learning and online schooling involves the administration of online schools and legislation affecting this field.  Some proponents of K-12 online learning and online schools propose funding online schools adequately, expansion of online schools in the name of school choice and altering or eliminating teacher certification for online schools (Chubb, 2012).  Others suggest that the most effective online schools have been able to convince policy makers to shed old ideas and paradigms regarding schools and school funding. These old paradigms mainly address the fact that virtual schools require little physical space, a vast change from budgets heavily weighed down by physical building needs (Watson & Gemin, 2009).  Another large portion of research has been devoted to the de-localization of school control, advocating for greater state control, especially in the realm to online learning (Chubb, 2012; Patrick & Powell, 2009). State led online learning initiatives for K-12 students would implement the state as standard-bearer, allowing for equitable access and opportunity to online course work and schools.  With control over online education granted to the state, all students within that state will have the same educational opportunity regardless of resident district.

Unfortunately, lost in the shuffle of policy formation, implementation, control and legislation are students.  K-12 students should be the focus of online learning policies. More research should be conducted looking at age-appropriateness and appropriate developmental needs for online learners.  Current research focuses on the suggestion that online learners should be self-regulated, motivated and reflective (Kim, et. al, 2012).  While many agree these attributes are advantageous for any learner, how can professional educators teach and model them in an online setting? Can professional educators teach persistence, motivation, reflection and deep thought?  If so, can any student, regardless of age or development level learn them in order to be successful?

Much more research needs to be conducted to understand the many facets of online learning- especially as it applies to K-12 students.  A developmentally appropriate, differentiated education should be available online as it is in most traditional schools.  It remains to be seen if an online or blended learning model is appropriate for all or most learners, just as it remains to be seen if traditional schools are appropriate for all learners.  Regardless, the focus of K-12 online school research needs to shift from policy to students in order to ensure current and future students benefit from this educational movement.

Chubb, J. (2012). Overcoming the governance challenge in k-12 online learning. Creating Sound

Policy for Digital Learning, Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED530433.pdf

Kim, P., Hisook, F., & Karimi, A. (2012). Public online charter school students: Choices, perceptions

and traits. American Educational Research Journal,49(3), 521-545. doi: 10.3102/0002831212443078

Patrick, S., & Powell, A. (2009). A summary of research on the effectiveness of k-12 online

learning.International Association for K-12 Online Learning, 1-11. Retrieved from http://www.inacol.org/research/docs/NACOL_ResearchEffectiveness-lr.pdf

Watson, J. & Gemin, B. (2009, July). policy and funding frameworks for online learning. Promising

practices in online learning: International Association for K-12 Online Learning, Retrieved from

http://www.inacol.org/research/promisingpractices/NACOL_PP-FundPolicy-lr.pdf

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Pedagogy, Social Studies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s